Temple of Venus 1923
TEMPLE OF VENUS was filmed, in part, on Santa Cruz Island in 1923. The Fox Film Company used several island locations, including the ever popular Cueva Valdez on the island's north shore, and Willows Harbor on the south side. Director Henry Otto (1877-1952) chose Santa Cruz Island over Santa Catalina for its “superior beauty”. This silent film starred William Walling (1872-1932) and “1,000 American Beauties.” It was released November 11, 1923.
In the News~
June 10, 1923 [SBMP]: “Santa Cruz Island to replace Catalina because of superior beauty, says veteran director. A prediction that Santa Cruz Island in time will rob Catalina of its attraction for beauty lovers of Pacific coast, was made yesterday afternoon by Henry Otto, veteran director of the Fox Film Company, who left Santa Barbara with a working staff and advance guard of actors to take part in a great feature film to be made on the Channel Island. Mr. Otto has long been a booster of Santa Cruz Island and has made several pictures there, chief among which was Undine, which attracted national attention. Now, however, he declares his company will utilize the island as a location for one or two pictures every season, which will demonstrate the beauties of Santa Cruz in all parts of the world. Temple of Venus. The picture which Mr. Otto has now begun on Santa Cruz is The Temple of Venus, a modern romance with an allegorical parallel. Its principal theme is that, despite the cry over vanished romance, there is always beauty and romance left in the world, if one but seeks it in the right place. Its scenes include a great marble palace, which is the Temple of Venus, with sleeping figures awakened by Cupid at the call of romance. From there the scene shifts to New York society bazaars, and eventually to Santa Cruz Island. The work of photographing nature studies on the island has been underway for several days, and a number of shots of nesting birds, seals and the native fish in the channel already have been made. In this connection a portion of the film will be devoted to the work of the various agencies to protect the birds and beasts of the United States from illegal destruction. The subterranean gardens in the waters surrounding the island also will be photographed. Scenes from the interior of Painted Cave, Valdez Cave and other beauty spots will be made. The entire company to be used in the island location will number more than 100, of which 75 will be girls. The latter will arrive here tonight and will embark for the island tomorrow morning. One of the interesting features of the work on the island is a huge light plant which was brought to Santa Cruz from San Pedro last week on an especially constructed barge. The plant will be used to light Valdez Cave for the scenes to be photographed there. A number of leading actors and actresses of the motion picture world will be used in the picture, including Phyllis Haver, Gene Arthur, David Butler, William Boyd, Leon Barry and Bob Klein, a former resident of Santa Barbara who has won wide recognition in character parts. Mr. Otto himself is a former Barbareño and was connected here a number of years ago with the American Film Company. He still retains membership in a number of Santa Barbara clubs.”